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What constitutes assault?

When a conflict between two or more people gets heated, it is often difficult to know when the situation moves from tense or frustrating to legally actionable. In many cases, some people believe that as long as they do not physically harm someone, there are no grounds to press charges. This, however, is not always true.

Assault charges can arise even if no one physically harms another person. If you or someone you love recently received assault charges, you should consult with an experienced defense attorney. It is crucial to use all the tools available to defend yourself and protect your legal rights. The guidance of an attorney can help you examine the details of your experience and identify strong strategies you can use to fight the charges.

What is assault?

It may come as a surprise to some that assault does not always involve physically harming another person or even touching them at all. Instead, assault can occur whenever one party threatens to harm another person convincingly. Generally speaking, assault has two components:

  • a party who acts to cause apprehension of harm in another person
  • a party who does experience apprehension of harm because of these actions

This means that assault can occur anytime that one party threatens another in a way that is convincingly serious. Of course, many individuals have different thresholds of what they individually consider threatening, so defining precisely what is and is not assault is not always simple.

If, for instance, two people are in an argument and one says to the other, "I'm going to beat you senseless with a baseball bat," while wielding a baseball bat menacingly, this constitutes assault.

What is apprehension of harm?

Apprehension of harm is distinctly different from fear. While one person may or may not feel fear because of the actions of another, apprehension of harm means that one party believes that another party's threat is genuine and may result in harm, such as the threat to beat someone with a baseball bat while holding a baseball bat.

If a person says he or she is going to beat someone else with a baseball bat, but there is no baseball bat in his or her hands, or anywhere in sight, then the other party may reasonably believe that this is not a valid threat. Assault is not merely about the words that we say, it is also about the accompanying actions that validate or invalidate those words.

Don't gamble with your future if you face assault charges. Be sure to seek out all the legal guidance you need to build a strong defense and protect your legal rights.

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